Humans have been using honey for nearly 5,500 years, which is not surprising when you consider the many options for using this sweet, sticky nectar. From delicious with your oatmeal, to protective effects in the gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous systems – we certainly have to thank the bees for all this good!
It is a dietary antioxidant
Manuka honey (MH) is high in flavonoids and polyphenols and packed with antioxidants. As such, MH reduces oxidative stress, the damage caused by free radicals (unstable atoms that lack an electron which can therefore cause reactions and damage in cells, proteins and DNA) that can lead to the development of diseases.
A recent study showed that when white blood cells (macrophages) are exposed to oxidative stress, Manuka Honey inhibits the production of reactive oxygen species (a type of free radicals), which in turn protect proteins and DNA. In addition, treatment with MH reduced inflammation.
Why not give your body an antioxidant boost by adding some Manuka honey to your breakfast?
It can help heal wounds
On the surface of wounds, there is a collection of cells called Biofilms. These cells contain microbes that protect the biofilms from antimicrobials, making it difficult to fight infections. The good news is that MH is able to kill the bacteria in these biofilms. This honey can also prevent the formation of new biofilms from a range of pathogens.
To put this into practice, MH has proven to reduce the overall healing time of skin wounds and improve the appearance of scars.
Now cuts and scrapes are nothing more to worry about – a thin layer of MH is enough.
Can help control blood sugar levels
There is some evidence that MH may have beneficial effects in managing blood glucose (sugar) levels. A clinical study showed that Manuka honey resulted in a significantly lower glycemic index compared to sucrose or glucose.
As such, the sugars in MH are released slowly and don’t cause a sudden spike. Therefore, the subsequent drop in blood glucose levels – a nice effect for everyone.
Message to take home
Manuka honey is a wonderful and delicious natural substance with potential functions in wound healing, blood sugar management and free radical control – and these are just the things we’ve discovered so far! MH is a delicious treat spread on toast sprinkled on your oatmeal or straight out of the jar!
Things to watch out for
As a natural substance, Manuka honey is considered safe to consume. However, in very rare cases, some individuals are allergic to it. Since honey is produced by the labor of bees, it is not strictly vegan.
What does science say about Manuka Honey?
It’s awesome! Manuka honey therefore seems to have something to offer, especially anti-bacterial effects, which can be very interesting for humans. Multiple researches has been done over the years. The many overviews show that Manuka honey indeed has very nice healthy properties for us. The antibacterial properties are particularly noteworthy for the Australian Manuka.
Why it’s so costly?
Manuka honey is a raw and unpasteurized by-product of the Manuka plant (also known as the Leptospermum scoparium). Under normal circumstances, this wild shrub grows to a height of two to five meters and in exceptional cases can grow to a tree of 15 meters. The higher cost of manuka honey equates to strong global demand and limited supply.
Given the short flowering season – only 2-6 weeks of the year – tremendous skills, planning and resources are required to harvest manuka honey.